It's hard to keep out of the way of the SUV juggernaut that dominates almost every category of new car buying in Australia, but if you know where to look, you can hook yourself up a new car that doesn't scream 'conformist'.
Despite the carnage of 2020, there are still a number of new car launches in 2021 that are worth a second look. Here's a sample.
Arrival date: mid-2021
Because it's taken so long to get here, Australia’s first SQ2 will actually be the newly facelifted version.
This means it’ll arrive bearing subtle exterior tweaks, including a new grille, redesigned headlight assemblies and a new lower front-bumper design that’s reflected in the rear bumper’s new look.
Packing a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive, the S3-powered SQ2 is claimed to hit to 100km/h from rest in just 4.9 seconds.
It’s apparently good for 250km/h and can sip as little as 7.7 litres of fuel per 100km.
Arrival date: June 2021
BMW has announced pricing for its incoming front-wheel-drive hot hatchback, the 128ti.
But while it’s aiming for a more traditional hot-hatch buyer than the range-topping M135i xDrive, thanks to a 180kW FWD layout, there's nothing familiar about its $56,900 price tag – at least among its rivals.
The BMW 128ti represents almost a $10,000 increase on the base 118i, adding unique 18-inch wheels, synthetic leather seats, a leather steering wheel with unique stitching and velour floor mats on top of its mechanical upgrades listed below.
Arrival date: Match 2021
Out of left-field comes a new facelift for the Peugeot 3008 small SUV. While definitely not in the mainstream category, Peugeot offers a quirky alternative in the 3008 which happens to pack much of the same features as conventional SUVs.
Despite the addition of hybrid powertrains overseas, those powerplants are like to be non-starters for Australia at this time.
A full Aussie run-down hasn’t arrived just yet, but we expect Peugeot to carry-over the current engines to the facelifted version.
Some tech enhancements are expected; namely a larger 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
We can expect to see the new 3008 on Australian roads in Q1 or Q2, but read this story for more.
Arrival date: tbc
It’s the more practical, higher-riding stablemate to the Model 3 sedan and features a conventional set of doors unlike the Model X sibling.
Arrival date: June 2021
Recharge is the branding suffix that will now be applied to any Volvo EV or plug-in hybrid.
In this instance, the BEV XC40 Recharge uses two electric motors to provide a very healthy 304kW and 660Nm to all four wheels.
A 78-kilowatt-hour battery (capable of charging to 80 per cent of its capacity in 40 minutes on a fast-charger) provides a range of more than 400 kilometres according to the WLTP rating, which should equate to a real-world range of around 330km.
The strength of the powertrain is sufficient for a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.9sec.
No word on Australian pricing, but we’d expect it to be in the $70,000 bracket when it launches here.